Category Archives: trips

Weekend Wonderful

This weekend was right in my wheelhouse – thanks Dennis! I LOVE a weekend that starts with a Friday night in NYC for Christmas festivities.

DSC04081 DSC04085 DSC04091 DSC04094 (1) DSC04095 (1)We took the opportunity to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner. The servers are all broadway-caliber performers who are auditioning for shows or between shows. They serve and sing and the atmosphere was fabulous. I was pleasantly surprise by the great food.

DSC04108 DSC04125 DSC04145 DSC04155 DSC04158 DSC04167We then made our way to Rockefeller Center. It was cold and crowded and exactly what you should experience in The Big Apple 5 days before Christmas.

DSC04169 DSC04172 DSC04191 (1) DSC04193 DSC04195I wanted The Boyz to see and be photographed in that iconic setting. Later in the weekend, while watching Miracle on 34th Street, Sean said – ‘hey, we are just there!’ Exactly. Just what I was shooting for.

The Macy’s windows don’t fail to impress – ever. I loved the Solar System theme.

The weekend continue with brunch with Santa…

and a solstice bonfire celebration, at which I forgot to take pictures, but it was full of fire and feasting. I embrace Solstice a little more every year – it fits every religion or lack thereof and is a simply wonderful way to mark the season.

Sunday found most of us home for most of the day – walk-taking, movie-watching, cookie-baking, game-playing, time-experiencing πŸ™‚ We capped off the evening here.

I hope you find what makes you happy as you anticipate the impending holidays. My souvenir for NYC? I brought home some Holiday Spirit. Very Merry.

Where To Start

I did it again – blog neglect. It’s either the blog, or the kids or the house, or the….I don’t know where to start to jump back into my little corner of the internet. So, I’m going to start right here and I hope you’ll just meet me where I’m at. Please.

We had an exciting trip to Sanibel Island, FL. We saw sights and had experiences we had never had before. I will not lie (I try really hard not to lie to you) it is just not easy vacationing with The Boyz. But there were plenty of wonderful moments that will make great memories. I am so glad we had a chance to visit this beautiful island. (You know I just like saying ‘island’, right?)

Now I’m here, but I’m not really ‘here’ if you know what I mean. My brain is either still on the beach or I am having a problem with Mercury being in retrograde – blame Mercury – sounds good.

I still have not done ‘real’ food shopping since our return, so we are consuming the dregs of boxes of cereal, tuna, toast and whatever I can dig up hunting through the freezer. Laundry has been done in stops and starts and does not seem to be diminishing at all. I am shuffling papers around my desk, but no headway is being made there either. Oh well. I’ve checked in with you – here – and that’s something.

How did I contract a case of ennui in October. Damn it Mercury.

A Big Deal

We are headed for a family vacation to beautiful Sanibel Island, FL. We fly out Sunday morning.

Did I make that sound natural?! Because it is SO NOT!

I honestly never let myself believe that this is a place in our lives to which we would get. A simple vacation, so easy and normal for some other people. But for us, it’s an undertaking of epic proportions.

A few years ago, we managed a trip to Washington D.C. and it was the first time that The Costellos, as you know us (6), managed a trip. We stayed two nights in a hotel. Our sites became set on the bigger and better things and we managed a trip to Disney World. We drove all the way there. These were amazing feats, for sure.

Until the age of 7, Ethan was chronically and often critically sick. There were infections, viruses, and illnesses aplenty. For the first 11 years of Ethan’s life – 11 years – he did not sleep. He was either up many times a night or he stayed up for days on end. It was hard enough to manage at home, but being out of our environment was out of the question.

Mikey also joined our family very unwell. It took several years to get skin infections and asthma to a manageable state. Gavin was nestled in the middle, of course, with his own issues and concerns. Daily life was a series of putting out fires – sometimes in the literal sense πŸ™‚ I would not consider vacationing more than 20 minutes from a major medical center in those days.

Add Sean a few years later and the rising costs of, well, everything, and it seemed like airfare and tropical islands were an unattainable dream. This vacation is the product of a series of fantastic deals and God’s goodness.

It’s still a production. We mailed several boxes, via UPS, full of Ethan’s matchbox cars, AutaBuy Magazines and coloring books – there was just no way we would get them all on the plane. He would be extremely unhappy without then, and then we would be extremely unhappy with him, without them. We are assessing what everyone will need to be happy so that it can be put into bags and transported to our island paradise.

I am pretty sure what I need to be happy will soon occupy a 3-bedroom beach cottage on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.

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Liberty Hall Museum

What a hidden gem we found in Liberty Hall Museum in Union, NJ.Β  I have to tell you, I thought I hated all things ‘history’ until Gavin developed a real loved for it – places, movies, documentaries and historical novels. Gavin’s way of learning about history is way better than what I was exposed to in school. When I see something from this vantage point I am usually really impressed – like I was at this location. I remember things when I see them and hear the facts told in story form. I’m sure my kids do too.

The docent that lead our tour had first-hand knowledge of the family that inhabited this historic house. It’s a place that has hosted 8 presidents and goes back to 1772. Truly, we were walking in history’s footsteps πŸ™‚

001 002 003 013 018 019The English Garden was wonderful and right now apples are ripe and $8 a bag to pick. I’ve heard they host wonderful teas here as well. I think I’d leave The Boyz behind for that πŸ˜‰

Check out how I am doing on my 30 Day Challenge here.

Miracle on the Delaware

If you’ve read this post, and several like it, you know that sometimes traveling with my crew is hard. Really hard. Honestly, there is no pattern or rhyme or reason. Some days are ok and some ARE NOT. So, what makes Dennis and I continue to try and trips that could potentially land us in trouble? Why in the world would we think that it would be ok to launch rafts, full of all of us, and float peacefully down the Delaware River?

Hope.

Our reward/failure threshold must be very high – or low – whichever way that works. We just need a few awesome trips and we keep hoping. We wait for the miracles. And sometimes, they happen.

Ethan is definitely our toughest customer. He had to wait in the sun, and in a long line for a bus. We took a bumpy, over-crowded & hot ride to our destination and the whole time he was quietly anticipating our impending floating experience. He had to walk down a rocky, slippery path, and pop himself into a tiny raft with 2 other Costellos. It was hard to anticipate how long it would be until he announced that he was ‘done’ – and he’s serious when he says that.

But since this is entitled ‘Miracle on the Delaware’, I guess you know how it ends. (These pictures were taken with a cheap, water proof, real-film camera and remain unedited – and that’s what you get.)

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When it’s this good, I sometimes can’t believe it. But I REALLY like it πŸ™‚

We got an inner tube
We got a trailer hitch
We’re near the river and far from rich
But we have got each other and gas in the tank
And it’s a beautiful day.
We’re laughing all the way
To the river bank

~ Brad Paisley